Most seasoned military spouses will say that staying busy is the best way to make a deployment go by faster. Sometimes this is easier said than done when you are facing a random Tuesday evening by yourself on the couch. Here is a list of our 10 favorite ways to keep your mind, body, and spirit busy during long separations or deployments.
#1 Begin or re-energize a hobby. If you are on your own with no children, deployments are a fantastic time to get into a hobby you enjoy that takes you out of the house. Offline.com is a great source for local events and ways to engage in hobbies that you may have never known you’d love. If you’re like me and have to stay in at night while the kiddos sleep, there are still tons of hobbies that can be done at home. Reading is an all time favorite, and helps pass the time so quickly when you are engrossed in an awesome book. Goodreads.com is an online community that you can join for free. It is a way to connect with friends and share your favorite books, find new ones, and review ones that you’ve read. It can even suggest new books based on your favorites!
#2 Learn a new language. As we all know, the military can take you anywhere! While English is widely used in other countries, knowing the native language can be both liberating and extremely useful. You can even find free downloads if you have access to a local library!
#3 Plan things to look forward to. Schedule weekly brunch dates with a friend, sign up for a monthly gift like MilSO Box, or schedule a weekly Facetime with your sister.
Knowing that something awesome will be coming your way every week or month can give you something exciting to look forward to and speed up each week or month.
#4 Start a DIY project. As the holidays are approaching, there are TONS of ideas on seasonal DIY decor on Pinterest. Deck out your house with cheap gourds, pumpkins, and burlap. Make your own ornament from military items. Better yet, schedule a date with your best friend to come over and work on your projects over wine.
#5 Become a volunteer. Get involved with your local USO or FRG. If you want a break from the base, find volunteer positions in your surrounding area. Volunteermatch.org offers a great way to search for causes that mean the most to you. They even show you how much time you will be expected to commit and the distance it is from any zip code. I find that the best way to get out of my own rut is to focus on helping others.
#6 Binge watch a new show. Okay, we all need to veg out sometimes. I mean, let’s be real. If you’re not in the mood to go out and meet new people or do new things, you can still fill hours of your time enthralled in some seriously awesome shows. Our last blog listed the
Top 10 T.V. Shows To Binge Watch While Your Spouse is Away. Check it out!
#7 Harness your strengths. No one is perfect. Instead of focusing on your weaknesses while you’ve got time to stew, why not focus on your strengths? Especially for the military spouse that is struggling to find her passion in employment, identifying and harnessing your biggest strengths can be incredibly useful! I recently read Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath. When you purchase or download this book, you receive a unique code to take a 30 minute quiz revealing your top 5 strengths. The insights you may gain from this can lead you to a career field where you can truly soar!
#8 Create the organizational system you’ve been putting off. Is it just me, or does everyone have a “junk drawer?” How about that one table in your house that seems to collect every piece of paper brought home from school? Not only can you de-clutter space in your home, you can make it beautiful with stylish options. Better yet, creating an organizational system can help you keep it that way… at least until your loved ones comes home and starts tossing their paperwork on the kitchen counter...
#9 Train for and and compete in something physically demanding. One huge reason to exercise is that you are releasing endorphins in your brain. These naturally occurring chemicals elevate your mood, which, let’s face it, can be a little on the low side when you haven’t received a text or call for two days. If you are already in the habit of working out, challenge yourself by registering for a marathon (or something shorter like the rest of us average folks) and push yourself through your training. Not only will you be in top physical shape for your loved one’s homecoming, but you’ll be immensely proud of your accomplishment.
#10 Pursue a passion. Perhaps, you love to write, but have never had the opportunity or time to indulge in this creative outlet. During a deployment separation, you may have time to start a blog like my friend Kara Fidd of Foxtrot & Pennies. Even if it just for your own personal satisfaction and not to earn money, being able to pursue a passion can be absolutely wonderful. Take a singing or acting class if you’ve always had a love of performing arts. You don’t have to become the next Jennifer Aniston, but at least you’ll have fun pursuing something that you love.
Maybe you’ve been putting off some of these pursuits. Now, is the perfect time to start! Grab a pen and piece of paper, and list each specific thing you want to accomplish before your loved one’s homecoming. Display your list somewhere you will see it daily. Having your goals right in front of you can keep you focused and busier than ever! Just don’t be upset if his homecoming is already here and you still have 3 items yet to accomplish. :)